The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to boycott the federal home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde during the upcoming budget session of parliament.
A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of senior party leaders held at its parliamentary party chairman Lal Krishna Advani’s residence on Tuesday.
Besides, the party also finalised its strategy on other issues that it would raise during what promises to be a stormy session beginning Wednesday.
Shinde earned the ire of the BJP for his Hindu terror comment that he made at a ruling Congress party conclave at Jaipur last month.
“We have got an investigation report that be it the RSS or BJP, their training camps are promoting Hindu terrorism,” Shinde had said in his speech in front of prime minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi. He later changed the word Hindu terror with saffron terror, which failed to pacify the rightwing pro-Hindu organisations including the BJP.
The meeting decided that the newly-elected BJP president Rajnath Singh would lead a protest march to Shinde’s ministerial bungalow on Tuesday, demanding his apology, failing which the party would either not allow Shinde to speak in parliament or boycott him.
BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had been boycotting finance minister P. Chidambaram over the 2G spectrum allocation scam. It is not yet clear if Chidambaram’s boycott would continue during the budget session.
BJP has also decided to forcefully raise the VVIP helicopter scandal to embarrass the government even after prime minister Singh’s Monday statement that the government was ready for a discussion on this issue.
The idea is to galvanise the pro-Hindu vote bank and paint the Manmohan Singh government as corrupt, with an eye on the 2014 general elections.
According to indications available, the opposition may stall parliament over a number of issues, although it would not interfere with President Pranab Mukherjee’s first ever address to the joint session of both Houses of Parliament on Wednesday and presentation of the railway and union budget later this month.
BJP is also expected to create ruckus in the Rajya Sabha with its demand for resignation of deputy chairman P.J. Kurien, who is being accused for being involved in a gang-rape case dating back 17 years in his home state Kerala.
The BJP leadership is of the opinion that raising issues like the recent hike in retail prices of petroleum products, cornering the government on corruption charges and increasing its waning hold over pro-Hindu voters would help it during the upcoming round of assembly elections in Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and boost its prospects of returning to power at the centre next year.